Massachusetts and Alaska May Join Maine in Letting Voters Rank Their Choices
Voters in Massachusetts and Alaska will decide in November whether they want to implement ranked-choice voting for some of their state races.
If voters approve, they’ll join Maine, which in November will be the first state to use ranked-choice voting for the presidential race.
In ranked-choice voting (sometimes called “instant runoff voting”), citizens don’t just select one of the candidates for an office (though they can if they want to). They are permitted to rank each of the candidates on the basis of preference.
To win a ranked-choice election, one must receive more than 50 percent of the vote, not just a plurality. If no candidate has a majority, the candidate with the least votes is eliminated from contention. Then the votes are tallied again. If you ranked the eliminated candidate as your first choice, your second choice is instead tallied as your vote. And so the process goes until a candidate gets more than 50 percent.
In Maine, voters approved a proposition to introduce ranked-choice voting there for some state and federal elections in 2016. The state’s Republican Party has been fighting it ever since, unsuccessfully. In 2018, ranked-choice voting contributed to the ouster of a GOP incumbent.
In Massachusetts, Question 2 will ask voters if they want ranked-choice voting for state officials and lawmakers, members of Cong
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